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Health insurance may predict likelihood of certain diseases

Health Care and Health Insurance
by Jay Fuller
Uninsurance rate continues to decline nationwide
Uninsurance rate continues to decline nationwide

After recent expansion of insurance markets resulting from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, consumers across the country are finding they have more health insurance coverage options available to them.  Interestingly, new data suggests there may be a correlation between the options used and the kind of preexisting illnesses of the users of each option.

For instance, the data - compiled by analytics firm Prosper Insights and Analytics - shows that those who are on Medicaid or Medicare are more likely to have chronic ailments such as diabetes or heart disease, while those without any insurance at all face increased risks of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and dyslexia, according to a report from USA Today. Meanwhile, people who have insurance from their employers face a greater chance of having acid reflux. That last group made up about 40 percent of those polled, and was by far the wealthiest demographic examined. These people were likely to have less anxiety, depression, and heart disease, but their dependents were more likely to have anxiety overall.

How are poorer Americans faring?

Interestingly, those on Medicaid or Medicare were at least 10 percent more likely to have nearly all of the 26 various ailments examined, the report said. The four boxes in which they did not exceed national averages were dyslexia and headaches or migraines (below average) and allergies or obsessive-compulsive disorder (within expected ranges). Consequently, policy experts say they are extremely concerned about the ways in which the costs associated with treating these medical problems will affect the federal government going forward, as the ACA mandates that it will pick up nearly all of those expenses for a number of years initially. However, increased data about the ways in which people with certain types of coverage deal with illnesses could, in the end, help to determine exactly how treatment can best be handled.

Those in the health insurance industry in particular may end up being in a better position as a result of this type of data, because it will help them to identify potential emerging trends which might have otherwise had a potentially large impact on their bottom lines. The more policy issuers know about what their clients are claiming, the better off they will be in dealing with them going forward.

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